Why L.A. Unions Are Comparing Antonio Villaraigosa To Scott Walker
Wisconsin, home to Green Bay, saw weeks of protests when Gov. Scott Walker ushered in tough reductions to the pensions and collective bargaining rights of public workers there. And L.A.'s unions did their best to describe L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's pension reform plan as just as bad, threatening to sue to block the changes which the city council unanimously approvedTuesday morning.
The changes could save the city tens of millions of dollars during the next few years and as much as $4.3 billion over 30 years. Employees would see more of their paychecks go towards retirement accounts. The city would pay employees less in years when the stock market sucks. That would ensure the city can keep contributions to retirement funds of workers steady. The retirement age would tick upwards, allowing new hires a maximum of 75 percent of their salary during retirement if they retire after turning 65 years old. Spouses of retired employees would no longer receive healthcare.
Villaraigosa has said the lawsuit won't go anywhere because the city's charter doesn't require negotiations with unions to make changes to the job offers presented to new employees.
The retirement changes ordinance is just one of several measures likely to be approved Tuesday by the city council that will affect Mayor Villaraigosa's legacy.
About 100 security and police officers who fall under the city's Department of General Services would officially report to the Los Angeles Police Department. Unions have critcized the move, saying its a cheap, backhanded way for the mayor to meet his target of having 10,000 police officers (the city's a few dozen shy at the moment).
The city also plans to raise water and electricity fees in what will be the first rate hike since customers were defended by a "ratepayer advocate." Villaraigosa, who exits as mayor next year because of term limits, earlier in his term had trouble getting the council to approve rate hikes or getting customers to swallow them.